The dangers of smoking

Quitting smoking offers immediate and long-term benefits. Quitting reduces the risk of developing smoking-related diseases and improves your health in multiple ways.

Tobacco smoke is made up of thousands of chemicals and many of them are very harmful. Around 70 of them cause cancer. Download What’s in Cigarettes to read more about these chemicals.

Poisons in tobacco smoke include:

  • Carbon monoxide
    • Fatal in large doses, this poisonous gas is also found in car exhaust fumes. It takes the place of oxygen in your blood, starving your lungs, heart, and other organs of the oxygen they need to function properly.
  • Tar
    • This sticky brown substance coats your lungs like soot in a chimney. Tar and smoke irritate your lungs, increasing the amount of mucus in your chest and restricting your breathing.

Long-term smokers are at a higher risk of developing a range of potentially deadly diseases including:

  • Cancer of the lungs, mouth, nose, throat, oesophagus, pancreas, kidney, liver, bladder, bowel, ovary, cervix, bone marrow, and stomach.
  • Lung diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
  • Heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
  • Poor blood circulation in feet and hands, which can lead to pain and, in severe cases, gangrene and amputation.